Chancellor King and SUNY Board of Trustees Announce New Investments and Initiatives to Accelerate Student Success, and Secure the Future of the State’s Economy and the Nation’s Democracy

May 22, 2024

‘Today, SUNY is On the Move,' Chancellor King Says in Second State of the University Address, Citing Enrollment Gains and Major Accomplishments, and Mapping Forward-Looking Path

Full Transcript, Policy Book, Video, and Photos Available Here

Albany, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor John B. King Jr. and the SUNY Board of Trustees today announced new investments and strategic initiatives to accelerate student success and secure the future of New York's economy and the nation's democracy.

Chancellor King was joined by Governor Kathy Hochul earlier today as he gave his second State of the University Address to an audience including the SUNY Board of Trustees, government officials, distinguished guests, and the SUNY community of students, faculty, staff, campus leadership, and employer partners.

In the speech, Chancellor King described the unprecedented partnership between SUNY, the Board of Trustees, Governor Hochul, the New York State Legislature, the Congressional delegation, and federal officials. This collaboration is fueling record levels of investment and SUNY's first enrollment gains in a decade, and advancing SUNY's four pillars of student success; research and scholarship; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and economic development and upward mobility.

"Higher education changed the trajectory of my family's life, which is why I'm focused on expanding educational opportunities for all New Yorkers and securing SUN­Y's place as the preeminent public university system in the country," Governor Hochul said. "From innovations in clean energy to artificial intelligence, students and faculty at SUNY are making groundbreaking advancements and the investments we're making not only gives young people and families a gateway to the middle class, but it's also an investment in the future prosperity of our entire state."

The SUNY Board of Trustees said, "Thanks to the extraordinary support of Governor Kathy Hochul and state legislators, SUNY is growing enrollment, securing unprecedented funding, delivering crucial wraparound services to more students with the highly successful ASAP and ACE programs, and offering students paid internship opportunities that change lives. Chancellor King's vision is inclusive of all New Yorkers and has SUNY on the move, emphasizing opportunity and excellence, building momentum, and giving New York the university system it deserves across all our sectors, be they community colleges, technical colleges, comprehensive colleges, or university centers. SUNY's message is ‘come one, come all and be part of our SUNY family.'"

Chancellor King began his address reflecting on the commitment from Governor Hochul, the New York State Legislature, and the SUNY Board of Trustees to making SUNY the best public higher education system in the world.

"With record investments in SUNY, promises are being kept, promised programs are blossoming, lasting change and improvement are building every day, and the world is taking notice," said SUNY Chancellor King. "Today, SUNY is on the move. Our quest for excellence rests on four pillars: student success; research and scholarship; diversity, equity and inclusion; and economic development and upward mobility. At SUNY, we will secure the future of the state's economy and the nation's democracy by helping students learn to channel their passion and purpose and become civically responsible citizens working for a civil, prosperous, tolerant, and moral society."

Full Transcript, Policy Book, Video, and Photos Available Here

Chancellor King's State of the University address celebrated highlights from the past year and results from initiatives launched in 2023, including the expansion of ASAP and ACE retention and completion programs at 25 campuses; paid internship opportunities for more students; and unprecedented resources to help students complete the FAFSA—which opens the door to college financial aid—in the face of federal delays.

Building on this ambitious agenda for SUNY, Chancellor King announced new programs and expansions:

Student Success: SUNY will expand support for students with disabilities and students experiencing food insecurity and other basic needs. With enactment of Governor Hochul's proposal to make FAFSA completion universal among graduating high schools seniors, SUNY is also expanding its support to help students and families complete the form. 

Chancellor King said, "We will expand the FAFSA Corps to 12 SUNY campuses and 70 members. We will provide more training and technical assistance. And we will launch a virtual help desk to aid with the form."

Research & Scholarship: In support of Governor Hochul's Empire AI research center for the public good, SUNY will launch major new initiatives to boost AI research across campuses, attract federal funds, and prepare students and faculty for the ethical and responsible use of this new technology. In addition to moving forward with semiconductor packaging and biotech research initiatives, SUNY will also work to secure major advances on climate research and quantum physics.

Chancellor King said, "Our progress this year was fueled by hundreds of faculty, researchers, and administrators who came together to dream with us about the future. That expertise, that drive, and that excellence will continue to make SUNY a national leader."

"Ultimately, we will double research at SUNY, because of the expertise on our campuses, in partnership with a wide range of federal and state agencies, and with the help of our elected leaders constantly working to grow the reach and scope of our exploration," he added.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: SUNY will expand its efforts to recruit veterans and military-connected students, as well as AmeriCorps alumni and students from rural areas of the state and other high-need communities. SUNY will also build on its longstanding and successful Educational Opportunity Program by offering pre-professional EOP programs for students interested in mental health and engineering careers. In addition, SUNY will prioritize civic education and engagement and civil discourse with a continued commitment to helping students build their civic muscles, including through launch of the Empire State Service Corps. And in the face of rising antisemitism on the nation's campuses, SUNY will require all faculty and staff to receive training in federal civil rights requirements that protect students from discrimination and harassment.

Chancellor King said, "At the heart of truly evolved diversity, equity, and inclusion is a truth too seldom discussed: underrepresentation and exclusion don't come in one color, speak with one accent, hail from one type of community, or belong in college at a set age."

He continued, "Our students are eager to be part of the solution to our most pressing problems as a nation, and it's our job to give them the tools to do so."

"Let me be clear: there is no place for antisemitism at SUNY – or in New York. Just as there is no place for racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred and bigotry," he added.

Economic Development & Upward Mobility: Building on last year's commitment to the ambitious goal that all SUNY students will have access to internships before they graduate, SUNY will expand paid experiential learning opportunities for students with an additional $4.5 million annual investment. SUNY is also partnering with the national non-profit Jobs for the Future to support a community of practice for campuses scaling their internship programs, including by providing wraparound support so more students can benefit. In addition, SUNY will increase education and training programs that prepare students for careers in the semiconductor industry, electrifying the building and automotive sectors, health care, and other high-demand fields. SUNY will also embed industry certifications in degree programs and continue to scale the use of credit for prior learning to recognize and award credit for knowledge gained in the workforce, including through military service.

Chancellor King said, "Ultimately, helping our students and communities thrive is at the very core of our charge, and perhaps the most important way we do so is through economic development and upward mobility."

"Helping students garner good-paying jobs in rewarding fields, helping communities get the workers they need to be healthy, stable and dynamic, helping families move forward and soar upward … this is our promise to New York," he added.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, "Our students are the future of New York and there is no better place than SUNY to train the next generation of scientists, artists, teachers, engineers, health professionals, business leaders, and more. I commend SUNY Chancellor John King's leadership driving forward the success of the university's students and ensuring all New Yorkers have access to quality educational opportunities."

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "The SUNY system is a source of immense pride for our state and an international leader in the education of students and conducting cutting-edge research. I am grateful for Chancellor King's stewardship of the system and commitment to SUNY's diverse students, faculty, staff, communities, and institutions."

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Chair of the Senate Higher Educations Committee, said, "As Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee I am very proud of the historic funding levels we were able to secure for SUNY over the past few years. It has helped SUNY see its first enrollment increase in more than a decade. We must continue to deliver for our students by investing in infrastructure and operating aid and research to keep pace with modern technology and the needs of our workforce. A SUNY education has long been one of the greatest drivers of upward economic mobility in the country and we are committed to meeting and exceeding that standard moving forward."

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, Chair of the Assembly's Standing Committee on Higher Education, said, "Together, Chancellor King, the State Legislature, and the Governor secured more state aid for our SUNY system just in the last two years compared to the last five decades. Thanks to our innovative partnership, the state of New York's State University system is stronger than ever. Across New York State, SUNY remains the most affordable option for attaining a higher education, acts as an anchor and cornerstone in communities across the state, and drives major parts of our state economy. Together, we will continue to ensure that our public higher education systems receive the state aid necessary to thrive, provide a comprehensive higher education experience for all students, and remain nationally and internationally competitive."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "In partnership with our colleagues at SUNY, New York State continues to invest in the innovation economy by supporting the cutting-edge research and development on campuses throughout the state. These collaborative efforts are helping to commercialize new technologies, solve complex problems, and prepare and grow the diverse workforce of tomorrow."

AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith said, "As a School of National Service and member of the National Partnership for Student Success Higher Education Coalition, SUNY has an exemplary track record of fostering a passion for service and civic engagement in its students. The groundbreaking SUNY Empire Service Corps will make service more accessible for hundreds of students while providing essential support to families in need. Governor Hochul, Lt. Governor Delgado, and Chancellor King continue to be reliable and innovative partners in our mission to strengthen communities and improve lives through service and volunteering."

Bloomberg LP & Empire AI Founding Contributor Tom Secunda said, "Empire AI is a visionary collaboration between public and private universities in New York, and an example of what can happen when you nurture the seeds of innovation. SUNY is going to play a critical role as we advance the future of responsible artificial intelligence research and development, and I look forward to the incredible opportunities SUNY students and researchers will have to be at the vanguard of AI for the public good."

The Business Council of New York President and Chief Executive Officer Heather Mulligan said, "From paid hands-on internships to innovative industry certifications that match the demands of businesses across New York State, SUNY is focused on preparing students and adult learners for the jobs ahead. Under the leadership of Chancellor King, the SUNY team is continually innovating their academic and workforce development programs to meet employer needs and open up opportunities for more New Yorkers. We appreciate SUNY's partnership and commitment to expand these programs further."

Jobs for the Future President and CEO Maria Flynn said, "Chancellor King's commitment to expand paid, quality internship opportunities to every student within the SUNY system is exactly kind of future-forward thinking our young people need and deserve. Integrating career experiences and the opportunity to build social capital into a student's education increases access to career opportunities for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds and areas of study, and recognizes that people-skills and professional connections play a critical role in their ultimate success."

New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, "SUNY's sustainable action plan is exactly the kind of forward-thinking initiative we need to hasten the state's transition to a clean energy economy, because when large, respected institutions like SUNY act, others follow. The climate crisis requires nothing short of an all-hands-on-deck response, and we applaud Chancellor John B. King Jr. and Chief Sustainability Officer Carter Strickland for their leadership and for helping move New York toward a more sustainable future."

University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Executive Director Michelle Deutchman said, "It's exciting to watch the development of the Fellows program at SUNY. The inter-disciplinary nature of the fellows combined with their work toward creating a system-wide community of practice will result in shared insights, information and best practices. The Center I oversee partnered with the University of California's Office of the President to form a Free Expression Community of Practice that has built community and collaboration across our ten campuses. I look forward to learning from SUNY's experience."

Veterans Education Success President Carrie Wofford said, "We are grateful for Chancellor King's commitment to our nation's veterans. Under his leadership, SUNY has made a significant commitment to enroll, support, and graduate student veterans. We hope SUNY's example will be adopted at other public institutions across America."

Young Invincibles Northeast Regional Director Sean Henry Miller said, "SUNY made incredible strides this past year, including historic wins in supporting students' basic needs such as food security, housing security, and mental health. Their partnership was also pivotal in passing our Universal FAFSA policy, making New York the 14th state to do so.

"Especially given the glitches with the Simplified FAFSA rollout, I'm proud that SUNY is helping to ensure that every student has support in accessing financial aid, regardless of race, family income, immigration status, or if they're an aspiring first-generation college student. On behalf of our entire Young Invincibles New York network, thank you to Chancellor King for his partnership, leadership, and commitment to educational equity, excellence, and justice," Miller added.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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